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Bacolod City, Philippines Thursday, March 2, 2017
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NIR remains focus
of Army operations

The Negros Island Region remains the “focus” of security operations of the Army's 3rd Infantry Division in the three regions of the Visayas, its commander, Maj. Gen. Jon Aying, said yesterday.

Aying said he tasked Col. EliezerLosañes, newly-installed 303rd Infantry Brigade commander, to take charge of the “focus operations” that will be conducted in Negros Occidental.

The island of Negros used to have two Army brigades that supervised the four Army battalions in the conduct of security operations against lawless armed groups in the hinterlands. Now, there are only two battalions of Army soldiers left in the island.

National Democratic Front-Negros spokesman Frank Fernandez earlier debunked military claims that the NPA in Negros has already become a “spent force”, and stressed during a clandestine interview with selected reporters in central Negros that they are growing in numbers and expanding their mass-base areas.

Aying admitted that he is working for additional security forces to be assigned to Negros, although he did not elaborate.

“Since we have the greater, or thebulk of the problem In the whole (3ID) is here, so I have to concentrate forces here”, Aying further said.

“There will be more efforts on combat operations. civil-military and intelligence operations, and assisting in the delivery of basic services,' he added.

While he received reports of rebels recruitment, when the unilateral ceasefire had been observed for six months, Aying said the NPA has to recruit more members to replace those who had left their organization.

There could be mass recruitment, because of mass leave, he said.

The three Army brigades supervised by the3ID are deployed in the Western Visayas, Negros Island Region, and Central Visayas.*GPB



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